The Divine: a play for sarah Bernhardt By Emma Johns

The Spatial Experience

Upon entering the theatre, I was greeted with somber music and a dark empty set that left me with an eerie feeling. This mood was amplified as the lights were turned off and the audience quieted. However, as the cast excitedly entered announcing the lively Sarah Bernhardt, the gloomy vibes were expelled. Sitting in the first row of the second group of seats made it possible for me to even touch the "divine" actress's hand as she skipped through the crowd in the beginning of the play.

The Social Experience

Before the play, I got ready in my dorm room. I kept running in between my room and my friends' trying on different outfits and asking them which one they liked the most. After what seemed like 20 outfit changes I finally settled for a white lace dress with a chambray denim top and dark brown ankle boots. I met up with my friend Angello from my biology lab in the lobby and sat next to him in the theatre. Unfortunately I was sick and throughout the whole play I could not stop coughing which landed me a handful of stares from the people around me.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The play takes place in Quebec City in the early 1900's. At this time there was a lot of social unrest amongst the working class who were seeking better conditions and treatment in the workplace. During this period Quebec City was heavily under the influence of the Catholic church which had a hand in almost all of the societies predominant functions and establishments. One of the central issues addressed in the play was truth and how difficult addressing it can become. Following the different characters as they struggled internally as well as externally with fighting the demons that were holding them back and keeping them from being themselves or doing the things that they wanted allowed the audience to somewhat relate to them on a personal level. I feel as if everyone at some point in their life has had to come to terms with a painful reality/truth that made them who they are today.

The Emotional Experience Coming clean was another big theme in the play especially for Talbot. In the beginning Talbot out of frustration admits that he does not aspire to be a priest but does so because it is one of the only ways for a poor young man like him to make a living. At the end of the play, Talbot comes clean when it is made known that he was molested by the priest. When given the opportunity to present this priest to the judiciary system, he turns it down. This action illustrates Talbot coming clean emotionally and ridding himself of the burden that holding that in was.

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